Tirumala TV channel chairman told to resign for improper conduct with staffer

Sreenivas Janyala
Prudhviraj, Tirumala TV channel chairman, Sri Venkateshwara Bhakti Channel, SVBC, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, indian express

Prudhviraj has acted in more than 90 films in a supporting role. He was given his current post in SVBC on July 28 last year. (Photo: Facebook)

The chairman and director of Sri Venkateshwara Bhakti Channel (SVBC) of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), Balireddy Prudhviraj, was Sunday asked to resign by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy for alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a woman employee.

The recording of a phone conversation, in which Prudhviraj purportedly makes sexual remarks to the employee, was leaked to media houses on Sunday. After conducting an inquiry, the TTD, which manages the Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala, decided to ask Prudhviraj, an actor and comedian, to resign.

TTD Chairman Y V Subba Reddy told The Indian Express that he received several calls and messages complaining against Prudhviraj’s behaviour on Sunday. “I received several complaints regarding Prudhviraj’s behaviour towards a woman employee of the channel. We don’t tolerate this, and the reputation of TTD was at stake, so I sought an inquiry by the vigilance department of TTD.”

He added, “Before ordering the inquiry, I called up Prudhviraj. He claimed the audio was doctored by his enemies. I asked the vigilance department to conduct a fair probe. The report was submitted in the evening and after consulting the CM, we decided to seek Prudhviraj’s resignation.”

TTD officials confirmed the voice in the phone recording was Prudhviraj’s.

Prudhviraj has acted in more than 90 films as a side actor. He had cosied up to CM Jagan Reddy just before the 2019 Assembly elections, and was rewarded with the coveted post of SVBC chairman on July 28. The SVBC has a huge following in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for its live telecast of Tirumula's Lord Venkateshwara temple proceedings.

Prudhviraj had last week incensed the CM after he described protesting farmers of Amaravati as 'paid artistes enacting a drama'. After he was given a warning by senior YSRCP leaders, he apologised to the farmers, who are protesting against the shifting of the state capital.